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COVID-19: W’Bank, FG promise States $2.5m for tax relief for individuals, businesses

The World Bank and the Nigerian federal government have promised to pay $2.5 million to any State that will implement tax compliance relief programme for individual taxpayers and businesses to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The initiative is part of measures to reboot the economy, which has been affected by lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The World Bank had earlier given the states $750 million as economic stimulus to revamp the economy.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and World Bank, over the weekend, hosted virtual meeting for States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS).

The meeting was attended by participants from the 36 states of the country including State Commissioners of Finance and Executive Chairpersons of State Internal Revenue Services.  

It gave State governments between July 31 and September 30 this year to implement the relief packages to qualify for the grant, which will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP).

A statement issued at the end of the meeting gave as condition for the grant, the publication of the tax reliefs on the State website and in national dailies to ensure widespread awareness amongst taxpayers.

“Furthermore, the state government should issue to their tax officials and collecting agents, guidelines for the implementation of the reliefs to ensure consistent execution by all and sundry,” the statement added.

Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, NGF’s SFTAS Technical Assistance (Project), who addressed the meeting, promised that the secretariat will provide technical advisory to the States on the domestication of necessary reforms to meet the DLI and fiscal sustainability.  

Ajogbasile noted that some States have followed the requirements of granting extension for filing 2019 annual returns and waiver for penalties and interests for businesses and individual taxpayers, others have gone further to waive other taxes, fees and levies for a specified period of time.

State governments had before now, introduced various tax relief programmes to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and individual taxpayers to ensure the speedy recovery of the economy.  

These include extension of filing and payment dates, tax moratoriums, waivers or reduction of penalties and interests over the extension period.  

Some States offered rebates or discounts on taxes paid within a specific period, while others allowed instalment payments of taxes, fees and levies.

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